I wish I had better results to report for this forecast, but at the time of this writing the river remains very low and big fish seem to be rare. While I and some others have had limited success bagging sizeable bass, for the most part small ones are most prevalent. The good news is that given the huge numbers of small bass and the incredible abundance of forage in shad and crawfish, the future of this river is bright. This is not to say that there are no big fish, I know of two bass over 9 pounds that have been caught this year and I’ve caught two over five pounds myself.
This month the top-water bite should continue just as good as in October, if not better! Try working a walking bait like a Zara Spook or a Vixen over large submerged tree tops out in the main river run. A buzzbait and a Bang-O-Lure will also continue to produce well, but never overlook tossing a Spro Frog under willow trees for a bigger bite.
Pitching and flipping to heavy cover with a jig or Texas-rigged creature bait will produce when the top-water bite is off. If you’re not going to pitch and flip, I’d suggest a crankbait. I really prefer to use the Bagley Rattlin Kill’r B in Brown Crawdad color. I really think this bait gets to the feeding instinct of bass that are chasing shad or crawfish. It works through heavy cover better than most any cranks I’ve used and they always run true right out of the box.
Keep hunting those big ones because I believe they’re still out there somewhere!
Good fishing and God bless.
CAPT. RANDY “C-NOTE” CNOTA
Panama City, FL